2011 BentProp Progress Report # 06

P-MAN XIII Update #06 - a 4-day catchup from Dan

3 February

Another day in Paradise....ahhhhhhhh.

Rick, Paul, Joe and Dan are headed out to pull the Marine Sonic SSS (side-scan sonar unit) through the beautiful still waters of Malakal Harbor at 2 knots (that is really slow, but needs to be to get good readings and data from the sonar).

Makes for a long day and lots of sun in the slow boat to nowhere, BUT we may have found a couple ships at 100+ feet deep that we don't think were previously known to the Palauans. We'll check the charts of known shipwreck sites to confirm what we have seen.

Working out the logistics for tomorrow with a diver (an Irishman who vacations several times a year in Palau - an oil rig worker) who says he has seen an airplane site in 80 feet of water on the Eastern reef just outside Malakal Harbor. He thinks he can take us back to site but it was on a drift dive and he will have to look for underwater landmarks that he hopes to recognize from 2 years ago.

Off to Carp Restaurant for Fruit Bat Soup and coconut crab....yum yum!!!

4 February

Flip, Rick and Joe are taking the Neco boat captain who took the Irish oil rig worker 2 years ago on the dive when he saw something, to try to find it again for us.

Paul and Dan have to pull the SSS units around at 2 knots, again...not much to really report on, 8 hours at 2 knots going back and forth again and again...BUT it has to be done to make sure we have covered areas we would never be able to cover without the SSS. This way we know where there is NOT a crashed aircraft!

Also, got word from a staff member of the HPO (Historical Preservation Office) of some aircraft debris up on the big island that he has been to and it is right between two Corsair fighter aircraft that we found 4 years ago and just this last year that are about 5 miles apart, so it might be a part of one of them or a new site. Working out the plan to talk with him and look at maps and see if it we can determine whether it is a known site to us, or a new one.

Got word back from the scuba half of the team, lots of pretty fish and fan coral BUT no joy on any aircraft parts....

Our Irish friend will talk with his dive partner from two years ago and dig harder at remembering exactly where he saw something. He is frustrated that he could not take us right back to the site. BUT this is something we have seen many times over the years: somebody sees something but doesn't realize that BentProp is looking for any and all aircraft-related sites. There is no reason to get a GPS fix or mark it in some way because it is assumed that many other people already know about it.

Off to dinner with our new Air Force doctor friends.

5 February

Okay, Flip is working today.

Flip and Paul are towing the SSS around the water in an organized manner collecting data. We have made grids and patterns and charts to follow so we are systematically searching very specific areas and able to cross them off our "nothing here map." Hoping to be able to add to our "found stuff map."

Rick and Dan are back at the hotel culling thru data and learning this new software system donated to us by Chesapeake Technology. Also working out a system to keep track of all this data and save it redundantly and analyze it before the March-April BentProp team arrives. This is a whole new learning curve for BentProp!

6 February

Again with Flip, this is his last full day in Palau for this trip. He heads home at 4am tomorrow and will return in late March with the main body of the BentProp team.

Back on the waters with the SSS oh, boy!

At lunch break Rick and Paul head to the hotel for a data cramming session and Flip and I pick up our "local" teammate Jolie. Jolie has lived in Palau for 14 years and we adopted her about 4 years ago into BentProp. She wanted to see this exciting, fascinating world of SSS first hand. So she got an afternoon full of excitement. Since Jolie and Flip were on their own boat, I will let Flip report on the surf conditions that they found....

Off to dinner at The Taj! I think the Air Force doctors are following us.....they are at dinner with us AGAIN....


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